Today I want to talk about cooking pots and cooking pot material. Not all types of cooking pots and pans can be good for cooking certain food. From steel cookware to non-stick, non-stick aluminum cookware to materials like copper, cast iron and stone, it’s not so easy to choose the perfect cooking pot or pan. But surely when you buy one, ask now if it is able to cook evenly and if it is made of a material for which the food does not stick. Then, you will find tips that will help you in your choice, explaining the main characteristics, uses, and cleaning of each type of cooking pot material with which these precious kitchen utensils are made.
Steel Cooking Pots And Pans
Steel cookware is essentially made of iron, chrome, nickel, and other metals that affect corrosion resistance. They are suitable for a type of food cooking where there is plenty of water and are therefore ideal for boiling pasta, vegetables, fish, and meat to be boiled. Cooking pot, being made of a material resistant to impact, and therefore also to accidental falls, they are cooking pots and pans that are beautifully sturdy, keeping over time without ruining easily. For this reason, steel cooking pots are among the most used utensils in the kitchen. However, they have their pros and cons.
Among the advantages, the fact that they are usually made of stainless steel, stainless and resistant, we said, to corrosion. In fact, the chrome film can protect the steel for many years, if proper cleaning is done with special products and some care. Steel, however, is easy to clean with a simple sponge and household detergent or in the dishwasher. However, it is better to wash it by hand, as the dishwasher can ruin the handles in the long run. In case the cooking pot still has food encrusted inside, however, avoid the use of abrasive straws, but fill it with hot water and detergent and let it rest all night long. The next day you can use a sponge and dry it immediately with a soft cloth to prevent water droplets from remaining.
As for the disadvantages, steel is not a good conductor of heat. In fact, its poor thermal conductivity means that there is no uniform diffusion of heat, so food, in contact with the high flame of the gas, risks sticking and burning at the base. To avoid this, very often steel fire tools are equipped with a heat diffuser, a disc of aluminum about 6 or 7 millimeters thick, applied to the bottom of the cooking pot. In this way the cooker can also be used for induction cooking.
Among the models of steel cookware, there is one that is very popular in the kitchen: the pressure cooker. Its main feature is the airtight lid equipped with a safety valve that allows you to create a certain pressure and consequently to increase the temperature inside in order to cook more quickly. The safety valve then serves to vent the steam and prevent the cooker from exploding. Not only vegetables are cooked in this cooking pot, but it is useful for cooking all kinds of dishes and recipes, from broth to soups, risottos and tender meats like butter. And in the pressure stove you will not only get steamed dishes but also roasts and preparations such as stew.
Aluminum Cooking Pots And Pans
Aluminium is one of the best cooking pot materials in the production of cookware. It is an excellent heat conductor and thanks to its low weight it is easy to handle. But the advantage of this type of cooking pots is that they heat evenly over the entire surface, both on the bottom and on the walls. During the various cooking phases, the temperature is then adjusted effectively, thus avoiding the risk of food burning. In fact, good conductivity leads to greater thermal efficiency and uniformity of temperatures: all of which are essential requirements for a good cooking utensil. Aluminium is in fact the metal most used in the catering sector.
On the contrary, in the home, aluminium cooking pots and pans are little used and the factor that limits their use is the ease with which the food sticks to the bottom of the cooking pot, precisely because of the speed with which it heats up. After shocks and prolonged use, the aluminum is easily damaged, so that even the cooking pots and pans are deformed. Moreover, it is not suitable for cooking acidic substances and foods, such as tomato sauces, marinades or brines, just as it is not suitable, due to its low thickness, for cooking on induction hobs and to be washed in the dishwasher, because too aggressive washings risk ruining it and staining its surface due to oxidation.
Here then are some tips on how to clean aluminum pans and cooking pots, delicate to wash. Do not use abrasive sponges and detergents and do not rub the surface too much. If black scooking pots have formed on the aluminum cooking pots and pans, you could try to remove them with milk. On the outside, you could add a few drops of lemon to the water and clean immediately with a sponge or damp cloth.
Non-Stick Cooking Pots Or Pans
The non-stick cooking pots and pans are usually made of aluminum with a non-stick coating made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is difficult to pronounce, so it’s better to just say Teflon! But the cooking pots and pans are not all coated in the same way. In addition to Teflon, they can also have the inner layer coated with ceramic and stone.
Non-stick cookware is a versatile and easy to use type of tools in the kitchen, because they are used to cook without fat, such as oil and butter. Quick to clean, they are the best not to burn food and are therefore perfect for sautéed vegetables, omelettes and a simple fried egg. The foods that stick are then soon removed.
In addition to frying pans, there are various models of non-stick cooking pots according to shape and size. So they can be high for cooking sauces, round for cooking in the oven and there are also comfortable plates for cooking meat. In short, everyone can find the non-stick cooking pot that meets their needs for shape or size.
However, they have limitations, they should not be scratched with accessories, utensils and sharp metal objects, as well as not to use abrasive sponges to wash them. In addition, they must not stay on the stove for too long or in the oven on, otherwise their inner lining will begin to deteriorate. In fact, they are cooking pots and pans designed for fast cooking.
Non-stick cookware is dishwasher safe and can be cleaned with soap and water. They are rinsed thoroughly with running water and left to dry on their own.
Ceramic Cooking Pots And Pans
The alternative to Teflon-coated cooking pots and pans, which cook with little fat, are ceramic cooking pots and pans. Good workmanship, they guarantee in cooking to withstand sudden changes in temperature and to obtain crispy food. In addition, they resist scratches and abrasions and are not porous, i.e. they do not absorb food residues, once washed. They do not deteriorate with acidic food and are used in cooking at high temperatures, so they can be introduced both in the oven and in the microwave.
Even if they cook without oil, it is necessary to prevent the food from sticking and therefore, during cooking, check the degree of humidity, if necessary adding some water or other liquid in the preparation. And remember not to leave them empty on the stove, as they overheat immediately.
If it is true that they last over time, it is also true that they are immediately affected by accidental bumps and falls and, as they chip, they become unusable. As for the choice of ceramic cooking pots to buy, you have to take a look at the bottom that, the heavier it will be, the more it will guarantee a uniform cooking, even if the cooking pots too heavy are not easy to handle and it is more difficult to use them in the kitchen. A help then can come from aluminum cooking pots coated with ceramic, which mediate between heaviness and non-stick. For proper care, do not cut the food inside the ceramic pan.
Ceramic cooking pots are easy to clean, but it is always better to avoid sponges and brushes with hard bristles. Be careful, however, not all models are dishwasher safe.
Iron Cooking Pots And Pans
Iron cooking pots are the cooking pots in which grandmothers used to cook Sunday roast. Beautiful big and heavy, the iron frying pan is also called Lyonese, since the first models were produced in Lyon, France. Its characteristic is that of being made entirely of iron and despite the difficult use, because it is heavy, it contains several capacities, such as that of forming a delicious crust on the dishes. In fact, try to brown some fish fillets, slices of breaded meat or prepare the chicken breast with the miller’s sauce: in addition to being tasty and tasty, they will look inviting once brought to the table. But in the iron pan are also excellent pasta, risottos, vegetables, skewers, prawns, cut, chops and fried.
The iron, in fact, allows you to immediately reach high temperatures and then keeps them constant without sudden changes in temperature. For this reason, this cooking pot material are definitely good for frying, precisely because the oil, once heated, keeps the right heat. The iron cooking pots then go over the stove, into the oven, over the electric and induction hobs. Do not put them in the microwave.
With a modest amount of money, iron pans do not cost much, in fact, you’ll make a good deal because they have an optimal yield and are preserved for a long time over time. All you need is a good maintenance and a certain care; on the contrary, the more you use them, the more they yield. However, be careful of rust and oxidation, for this reason it would be good to subject the cooking pot to a burnishing operation in order to protect it against oxidation, improving its appearance.
As soon as you buy it, soak your iron cooking pot in hot water with a little soap and leave it there for 10 minutes. Brush it with a dish brush, rinse it under running water and dry it well with a cloth. Grease it with a little olive oil all over the surface and put it in a preheated oven at maximum temperature. As soon as it is hot, take it out. Distribute coarse salt, which also helps to remove any odors from the cooking pot, and put it back in the oven for a few minutes. Take it out and throw the salt away, then clean the cooking pot with absorbent paper. Now your cooking pot is ready to be used in the kitchen and will not need to be put in the dishwasher. To clean it from encrusted food, use a spatula and pass a little oil with the usual paper towels.
Like aluminum, iron also fears acidic foods such as tomato, lemon and vinegar, so it is better to remove them immediately. In addition, iron is not non-stick, so food is cooked with oil or butter.
Terracotta Cooking Pots And Pans
Terracotta cooking pots always have their own charm. In fact, they recall the peasant world and therefore have an ancient air, full of past memories. They have a good thermal yield, that is, they allow to maintain a constant temperature inside. They are very resistant to cooking pots and can last for a long time, obviously with the right care. For example, they cook in contact with the stove but the flame must be low in order not to ruin the cooking pot. They can also be used on embers, but above a metal grill, and even in the microwave oven, as long as they are glazed with glass and there are no cracks.
In terracotta cooking pots you can cook soups, cereal soups, meat and tomato sauces, polenta, stews and even roasts. They are also excellent for legumes, such as chickpeas or beans, which should be covered with water and put on the stove or on the embers, leaving them to simmer. Only at the end you can add salt, oil and, for those who prefer it, tomato sauce. Also the roasts, another dish that requires a constant temperature and a slow cooking, can be cooked inside terracotta cooking pots with succulent results.
However, terracotta cooking pots are very fragile and suffer from temperature changes, so they can crack and crumble. They should in fact be rehydrated with water after each use as the terracotta tends to dry out during cooking. Practically they should be soaked in cold water for a few hours and, indeed, at first use it is good to observe this operation and leave them to soak for 12 hours.
Copper Cooking Pots
As is the case with aluminum cookware, copper cookware is also well seen by chefs in the catering industry. Thanks to their high thermal conductivity, they guarantee ideal cooking for most dishes. In this type of cooking pot, the quality of the tinning is important, i.e. a good tin covering on the inner surface of the cooking pot to prevent the emergence of verdigris. If done well, the copper cooking pot is therefore forever, eternal and indestructible.
In copper cooking pots are cooked polenta, pasta, risotto, meat, vegetables, sweets such as jams, chocolate, caramel and creams that do not require long cooking. But they also produce cheese and spirits. They are not suitable for acidic foods, such as tomatoes and sweet and sour sauces, and for too high temperatures.
The internal tinning of copper cooking pots is quite delicate and subject to scratches and abrasions, so avoid using ladles or other steel objects to mix food, but use wooden, plastic or silicone utensils. Also don’t worry if they darken with time, because tinning tends to cause this effect after use at high temperatures or acidic food.
As far as the cleaning of these cooking pots and pans is concerned, a tip is to keep them as shiny and intact as possible, using special products to clean them. Copper cooking pots and pans are not dishwasher safe. To clean them in their external part there are some simple home remedies: if they are not so dirty, just soak them in hot water and soap for an hour, then rinse well and dry.
If this is not enough, then prepare an emulsion with vinegar, coarse salt and water and rub it gently on the outer surface of the cooking pot with a sponge. Rinse it with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth. Another solution is based on lemon juice, dish detergent and salt. Always rub the mixture gently on the outer surface with a sponge. Even some people use an onion or a slice of lemon to rub directly on the cooking pot. The important thing is always to rinse with water at the end of each cleaning operation with these homemade remedies.
For internal cleaning, avoid scratching the cooking pots with an abrasive sponge. Then leave them to soak in hot water and soap until the food incrustations have softened. Then proceed with a normal wash with water, dishwashing detergent and a soft sponge to remove the incrustations from the bottom of the cooking pot.
Cast Iron Cooking Pots And Pans
In addition to metals, copper and ceramics, very appreciated are also the cast iron cooking pots suitable for cooking on the grill, but also for the preparation of stews and braised dishes. They are very versatile in the kitchen and can be used for cooking in the oven, as well as on gas stoves, barbecues and induction hobs. Cast iron is in fact a material that allows long cooking over low heat, retaining heat in an optimal way and spreading it slowly and evenly regardless of the type of cooking.
Thanks to these characteristics, cast iron cooking pots and pans allow you to turn off the stove beforehand to finish cooking even when the fire is off. Or, on the contrary, they are first put on the fire to heat up and then lay down food such as meat or vegetables so that they cook in a short time.
Their weak point, however, is cleanliness. Before washing them you have to wait for them to cool down, because otherwise they can be ruined. Against oxidation, every now and then they should be rubbed with absorbent paper and olive oil. It is better to use small amounts of detergents and avoid steel wool pads and abrasive sponges.
But let’s conclude the overview of kitchen utensils with stone cooking pots, glass and silicone utensils. In stone cooking pots and pans you can heat the food of the night before, without altering the taste and without using oil or other condiments. They do not scratch and can also be washed in the dishwasher without damaging themselves.
The stone with which the cooking pots are made is made of lava stone and soapstone, but the cooking methods are similar, they have only different origins and characteristics. The lava stone comes from volcanoes and soapstone is composed of talc and magnesite. Both absorb a large amount of heat which they then release during cooking.
The stone is also resistant to temperature changes. Thanks to its ability to accumulate heat, it is used for cooking on embers and for barbecues. This cooking pot material is also used for cooking without adding fat and for long cooking, but since the distribution of heat is not uniform, it is good to always use a flame breaker to avoid breaking the cooking pots. To clean them you do not need detergents but only water and salt. You can also use a toothbrush with iron wires, but in the end they should be dried gently in any case.
As for kitchen utensils made of glass, the latter is a very heat-resistant material and for this reason it is used for cooking in the oven and microwave. Glass baking dishes are excellent for casseroles, timbale and pasta pies. For cleaning they do not require much attention and incrustations can be removed with detergent and hot water. In addition, they go in the dishwasher.
In recent years then in the kitchen has been increasingly noted the use of silicone objects such as moulds for cakes, savory pies and other preparations. Silicone is a non-stick cooking pot material and the moulds made with this material are ideal for muffins and plumcakes, without buttering or flouring and go safely in the oven. A tip is to always wash them very well and to make them, at first use, a vacuum cooking, that is to say to bake a dough to be thrown away, so as not to leave smells and special flavors in the food that will be cooked later.